If you are new to social media—or have used it infrequently—you may be overwhelmed about all your options and which to choose. In the following sections, I’ll give you some tips for successfully using social media for business.
Getting and Keeping Social Media followers:
Most businesses want lots and lots of followers on their social media channels. There’s something reassuring when you see a growing number of “likes.” Here are some tips about getting the right ones and keeping them.
- Make sure you respond to followers when they engage with you. If others see you respond, they are more likely to follow you.
- Add quality, not quantity. It’s better to engage with those who are enthusiastic about you and your products/services. Very little is added to your reputation by having a whole bunch of “fans” who don’t really relate.
- Remember Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) are places where liked-minded people get together to have conversations, share information and enlighten each other. If you can contribute to that, pick the social media that’s right for you, your business and service.
Where do you start?
To begin, it’s always best to work from a business plan. One that defines your customers, your target markets and prospects. Then analyze each Social Media option and determine which are best for reaching your customers and/or prospects. For example, Facebook is best for business-to-consumer; LinkedIn is better for business-to-business.
Some other things you can do based on your business plan:
- Start a blog with information that’s relevant to your market. That requires understanding your customer and prospect needs and wants.
- Register on a number of social media services and see which engage your customers best. Focus on those that get the best response and seek others with similar user profiles to your customer base.
- Don’t rush to try every social media platform or register with every new one. Work a few to the maximum. Then, if necessary, add platforms. It may be better to add content than platforms. People are busy and like to know where to find what they are looking for. By constantly changing your resources, you confuse them and waste their time. They just give up.
How often should I be posting?
According to recent market research, one of the main reasons people stop following a brand is because they post too often. Often the “too frequently” correlates to postings that are not interesting or relevant. Some suggestions about quantity of postings:
- Post no more than five times a week on Facebook. That’s once a day.
- On Twitter, posting three items a day, is probably a good goal. Remember these postings can be links to other sites, special offers, etc. So they don’t to be as long or involved as a blog or Facebook posting.
- Facebook has an algorithm called EdgeRank which stops people seeing all of your posts. The more you engage with a brand, the more likely you are to see their posts. If people aren’t engaging with your content on Facebook, chances are they aren’t seeing it.
(One way I get around that on Facebook is to send important posts directly to my FB contact. I bulk email up to 50 contacts at a time. So if I want to send to 500 FB “friends” or “likes” I send out 10 emails directly with 50 contacts each.)
Most of us are familiar with social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. Many are unsure about the usefulness of Pinterest. Pinterest describes its service as a “visual discovery tool,” where users create and share board or ideas. Content lasts a long time on the site as people may pin your content for months.
In its early days, Pinterest was embraced by retailers, dressmakers, chefs, artists and other services/products geared to photo displays. Pinterest has expanded its base and now can be very helpful to writers, booksellers, businesses and others.
Make sure you use the right language ad tags so that people can discover your products and consider engaging in one-to-one chats.
… and LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a social media platform primarily used for business networking. It provides excellent visibility to businesses of all sizes as well as people and businesses looking to connect.
- You must create a LinkedIn profile. It’s the best way to let people know about you and what you offer.
- Share content as often as possible, preferably daily, and you will connect with lots of prospects and influencers.
- People like to do business with people/companies they know and trust. That’s why its important to take relationships offline so prospects can get to know you on a personal level.
- People don’t realize that LinkedIn works like a search engine and SEO rules apply. Use keywords you want to appear in rankings and repeat them where you can. This could be in your headline, job titles and descriptions.
- It is important that your company page is up to date, containing the right branding, links and business details.
Can I post the same content on different channels?
Don’t post the same content on every social media channel. Some content will be appropriate for all channels, some will not. What will work on LinkedIn will probably not work on Facebook. But all may probably work well on Twitter. If you’re not sure, see what other companies/people are posting on each channel. That may be helpful to guiding your decision.
Can I sit back and relax now?
No, you have to keep going. Using social media for business development means engaging regularly. As important, social media is not a replacement for regular sales campaigns. Continue with traditional marketing methods such as direct mail, advertising, phone calls, print newsletter, emails, etc. Together they can help you establish your brand, optimize sales, build customer loyalty, get you followers, and most important, provide word of mouth referrals.
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